Q:

How did ancient people communicate?

A:

Quick Answer

The ancients revolutionized communication with various forms of writing based on spoken language established by their prehistoric ancestors. Written communication was transmitted by a variety of media, including stone, metal, wood, wax and pottery.

Know More

Full Answer

Stone inscriptions allowed ancient communicators to have their messages read by generations to come, which was beneficial for the development of culture. Such inscriptions were created with a hammer and chisel. One school of thought holds that the right-to-left direction of ancient Semitic languages (Hebrew and Arabic) can be attributed to the fact that the right-handed majority found it more natural to chisel that way.

Because of its cost, metal was rarely used for ancient communications. Nevertheless, inscriptions on gold and silver have been linked to royal palaces and temples, while in ancient Rome, bronze tablets were a common and more convenient alternative for storing information than stone.

Wooden tablets and boards are likely to have been widely used, although few have lasted for contemporary examination. It is known, however, that the ancient Romans re-used whitewashed wooden boards for announcements and advertising.

A more everyday medium for communication in the ancient world was beeswax contained within a wooden frame. Sometimes these would be bound together to form a codex and used for contracts, records or notes.

Pottery shards, particularly in Egypt, were another everyday medium for communication. People would inscribe tax receipts and other temporary information onto them.

Learn more about Ancient History

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did the ancient Chinese trade?

    A:

    The ancient Chinese traded luxury goods, such silk, china, spices, fabrics, animals and exotic fruits, along the Silk Road. As the name indicates, silk was the primary good exported along the Silk Road, but camels from Central Asia were also prized because of their ability to endure the dry and harsh conditions along the path.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the ancient name of China?

    A:

    China had several alternative names in ancient times including Chixian Shenzhou, Hua and Xia. The oldest is Chixian Shenzhou, which means the sacred earth and divine land. This reference was found in a book dating between 475 and 221 B.C.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What were ancient Egyptian social classes?

    A:

    At the top of the Egyptian social class pyramid were the gods, followed by pharaohs and government officials, which included priests and nobles. At the bottom of the pyramid were slaves and servants of the people of the higher classes.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some major achievements of ancient Japan?

    A:

    In ancient Japan, Shintoism and Buddhism combined into a uniquely Japanese form of religion. During the Fujiwara regency, the military class rose around the ideals of the samurai, and large military families formed around powerful political figures. The Japanese medieval era also saw a shift toward a feudalistic society. Japan managed to repel two Mongol invasions, and a civil war led the country to a period of Ashikaga rule.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore